SOME port operators have called on the Federal Government to build more ports to decongest the gateways in the western zone of the country.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos last week, the operators also called for establishment of more bonded terminals and Inland Container Depots (ICDs) across the country.
The President of the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (IFFN), Mr. Zeb Ikokide said that the problem of port congestion could be addressed permanently by building more areas for receipt of cargoes.
“Government should approve more places outside the existing ports for cargoes and these could be ICDs, bonded terminals and new ports,” Ikokide said.
The port operator described the current measures to decongest Lagos ports as “artificial,” saying that the measures would not last. He said that the ports would be congested again as soon as the level of imports starts picking up.
Ikokide suggested that government should introduce some incentives that would make importers use ports in the eastern part of the country, which he said, were “idle for now.” He also implored government to reduce port charges to facilitate more international trade.
Mr. Dayo Azeez, vice president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), also suggested that more ports should be built in Lagos area to accommodate the large chunk of cargoes coming into the country.
“We need more ports in the western zone because 75 per cent of cargoes entering the country come through the western ports,” Azeez said. According to him, more ports can be built through public-private partnership.
The Chairman of the Port Consultative Council (PCC), Dr. Waheed Kareem also advised the Federal Government to hasten work on the ICDs.